When’s the last time you were bothered?

From Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451:

‘Let me alone,’ said Mildred. “I didn’t do anything.’

‘Let you alone? That’s all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?

Here’s Montag telling his wife their happiness within a society that burns books is a canard. People who don’t read, learn, and use the knowledge they’ve acquired are doomed to let others do the thinking for them. Sometimes being bothered is the corollary of really living–of caring for others.

This is why education is so important. Students must have the opportunity to use what they’ve learned to construct their own viewpoint. It’s when learning is made personal that students gain the full benefit of school. Yes, with more understanding comes more information about what’s bothersome. The good news is that students who can think well and are tuned in to the world will solve the problems that right now seem impossible.

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